How many children do you have and what are their ages?
I have two children, ages 4 and 8. My 4-year-old is a quick-witted, smart little guy that loves dinosaurs. My 8-year-old is a funny, sweet boy with an excellent memory who loves cars and also happens to have autism.
What is ONE song that reminds you of your child(ren)?
I’ve always associated Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars with my oldest son. I remember hearing it in the car several times while he grew in my belly, and he would just flip all around as if he loved it too. The lyrics seem fitting, too. “We’ll do it all. Everything. On our own. We don’t need. Anything. Or Anyone.”
I don’t really have such a strong song association for my youngest, but he sure does like Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.
How would you define your style of parenting?
If you’ve ever heard of Parenting with Love and Logic, I’d say that we follow the model almost to a tee. I believe in my children showing us respect, but I think that also means that I’m respectful of their feelings. We apologize for our mistakes in this house–children and adults alike. The punishment must fit the crime. Whenever possible, we use positive reinforcement rather than punishment to achieve results. I find this method holds the most results. Besides, punishment doesn’t seem to work at all on our 8-year-old anyway. He does much better when he’s working for a reward.
Do you have a restaurant or favorite place that you will only go with your child(ren)?
One of our favorite places to go is Applebee’s. They have more options for corn-free food than most places. We also typically get our food pretty quickly there, and that’s really important not only for small children, but for children with autism. We have the most positive dining experience in places that understand that we want our children’s food first.
What is one piece of advice you would give your child(ren) that can apply to their entire life?
I like to tell my children “never give up.” If you don’t get something the first time you try to do it, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever get it. Perseverance is a really important trait for a person to have. Perseverance is the only way my oldest son learned how to buckle his own seatbelt, button up his pants, and snap his fingers (something that he’s really proud of himself for). It’s a quality that’s helped my youngest learn to color inside the lines and begin writing his name. Teaching my children to never give up will help them for the rest of their lives as new challenges get presented, as they will need to learn to handle them with grace.